My mother-in-law flew into town yesterday. This Friday my brother-in-law and my niece will arrive with family in tow. The big occasion? A different kind of Labor Day celebration than you might be celebrating this weekend.
My husband and his brother (and the rest of our clan) have been laboring for a long, long time. Not the work kind of labor, but the prayer kind. And make no mistake about it, when you pray for something every single day for nearly 40 years, it’s labor.
A labor of love.
Almost 40 years ago my brother-in law became the very first Christian in his family–ever. He quickly began praying for his family to follow suit. 3 years and many conversations later, my husband gave his life to Christ. Soon JP began praying for their family, too. But the process has been long–moments when both sons were told “it’s fine if you want to have God in your life, but please don’t discuss it with us anymore.”
And so they stopped talking. But they never stopped praying.
For 39 years.
About 9 months ago my mother-in law decided that maybe she would try to attend church, “just to see….”. we held our breath and wondered what the outcome would be. She liked it. Women reached out to her and extended an invitation to join their Bible study. She said yes “just to see…”and she liked that, too. Soon she signed up to be a greeter on Sunday mornings.
One day this past spring JP received a call. It was his mother wondering if he could tell her how she could become a Christian. “I keep going to church and Bible study hoping someone will pull me aside and tell me what to do to become a Christian, but they never do. So I thought I would call you and find out.” Speeding down the freeway at 70 mph, my husband led his mother to Christ.
She has always been a good person. A great person, in fact. But even our children have noticed a marked difference in Grandma.
So, 40 years and many prayers later, my 82 years old mother-in-law has come to our home to be baptized by her two sons. The ones who have loved her and served her and laughed with her and cried with her– and, oh yes, prayed for her, even when their prayers looked hopeless. And believe me, there have been more moments than not, when they doubted if their prayers would be answered the way they hoped.
But they didn’t stop praying. They continued the labor.
And now they celebrate with her. With us.
Yes, this year our family gathers from all over the country to celebrate Labor Day. I’m wondering if you might be laboring over something in prayer, too. Whatever it is, whomever it’s for, don’t stop. Continue to labor in prayer.